20-year-old US Open champion Naomi Osaka said she felt like she 'had to apologize' after beating Serena Williams in the final

naomi osaka today


US Open champion Naomi Osaka appeared on the Today show Monday morning.

  • Naomi Osaka, 20, beat her idol Serena Williams, 36, to win the US Open Championship on Saturday.
  • On Monday, the newly crowned champion appeared on the "Today" show to discuss the highly contentious final.
  • The chair umpire took a game away from Williams in the second set when she got into an argument with him over previous penalties.
  • The trophy ceremony was drowned out by a chorus of boos, causing Osaka to cry and tell the crowd, "I'm sorry it had to end like this."
  • Osaka said on "Today" that she felt like she had to apologize for beating Williams because it was so emotional in the stadium.

Newly crowned US Open champion Naomi Osaka appeared on the "Today" show Monday morning and explained why she felt the need to apologize for beating Serena Williams in the final.

The mood at Arthur Ashe Stadium turned bitter in the second set Saturday night when Williams was fined a game for allegedly receiving illegal coaching from the sidelines, slamming her racket, and then getting into an argument with the chair umpire.

Twenty-year-old Osaka, from Japan, went on to win the match in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-4.

During the trophy ceremony, Osaka was asked what it felt like to beat a player she's idolized her whole life. She declined to answer, and said she felt "sorry it had to end like this."

When asked on Monday why she apologized for winning, Osaka said the match and the mood in the stadium made her emotional.

"I just felt like everyone was sort of unhappy up there," she said on the "Today" show. "I know that it wasn't really - the ending wasn't how people wanted it to be. I know that in my dreams I won in a very tough, competitive match. I don't know. I felt very emotional. I felt like I had to apologize."

naomi osaka cries


Osaka began to cry as the stadium booed her during the trophy ceremony on Saturday.

Osaka also spoke about what it felt like to have her trophy ceremony drowned out by a chorus of boos. During the ceremony, Osaka covered her face with her visor to hide her tears.

"I felt a little bit sad because I wasn't really sure if they were booing at me or if it wasn't the outcome they wanted," she said. "I could sympathize because I have been a fan of Serena my whole life. I knew how badly the crowd wanted her to win."

The booing got so loud that at one point, Williams came to Osaka and put an arm around her for comfort and whispered words of encouragement, which Osaka says made her feel "really happy."

Williams also told the rowdy crowd to stop booing and celebrate Osaka's win.

As for her opinion on the drama that unfolded between Williams and the chair umpire, Osaka said she hasn't done enough research yet to give a full opinion.

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Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS via REUTERS

Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and chair umpire Carlos Ramos talk after Ramos charges Williams with a game penalty in the second set.

"For sure I want to watch everything and I want to know what happened, because this is sort of one of the biggest things that happened to me," she said.

When the arguments were happening on the court, she says she had her back turned and didn't hear anything that was happening until the penalty was announced.

"I was a little bit confused throughout the whole thing," Osaka said.

In addition to having a game taken away from her, Williams has now been fined $17,000 for her on-court outbursts.

Many in the tennis community have called Williams' punishment evidence of a double standard in the sport.

"When a woman is emotional, she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's 'outspoken' and there are no repercussions," 39-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King tweeted on Saturday.

Watch Osaka's full interview on the 'Today' show below:

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